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tv   Way Too Early With Willie Geist  MSNBC  December 16, 2011 2:30am-3:00am PST

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good morning, i'm willie geist, and this is "way too early," the show that always comes with a gift receipt. i'm glad you're up with us this morning, watching on msnbc or listening live on sirius xm radio. shoot me an e-mail or tweet me. let me know what you're doing up at this hour. or do what sam hurd does and text the word "awake" followed by the response to 622639. we'll read the best responses later. the next 30 minutes will be your cram session for this friday, december the 16th. a lot to tell you about today including the role that keystone pipeline will have in what gets done in washington over the next couple of weeks. some details there. plus, "thursday night football" as the sneaky good atlanta falcons nose their way to the top of the wild card picture. highlights ahead. in sports. but first let's get to the news, live at 5:30 a.m. here at
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30 rock in new york city. the republican contenders are campaigning in iowa today in a final 2 1/2-week debate before the caucuses. newt gingrich came under attack for most of the night with nearly every one of his opponents offering some form of criticism. the former speaker's electability, his conservative values, and his record in washington all came into question. michele bachmann leading the charge, focusing on gingrich's dealings with mortgage giant freddie mac. >> we know that he cashed paychecks from freddie mac. that's the best evidence that you can have. over $1.6 million. and frankly, i am shocked, listening to the former speaker of the house, because he's defending the continuing practice of freddie mac and fannie mae. i was trying to see these two entities put into bankruptcy because they frankly need to go away, when the speaker had his hand out and he was taking $1.6
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million to influence senior republicans to keep the scam going in washington, d.c. that's absolutely wrong. >> that's just not true. what she just said is factually not true. i never lobbied under any circumstance. i think sometimes people ought to have facts before they make wild allegations. >> yes. congresswoman? >> well, after the debate that we had last week, politifact came out and said everything i said was true. the evidence is is that speaker gingrich took $1.6 million. you don't need to be within the technical definition of being a lobbyist to still be influence peddling with senior republicans in washington, d.c., to get them to do your bidding. >> i want to state unequivocally for every person watching tonight, i have never once changed my positions because of any kind of payment. because the truth is, i was a national figure who was doing
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just fine. >> mitt romney also going after newt gingrich. but with an eye forward the general election, romney used the debate last night to assail president obama, describing his foreign policy as weak and apologetic. >> a strong america, a strong america is the best ally peace has ever known. this is a president -- the spy drone being brought down, he says "pretty please"? a foreign policy based on pretty please? you've got to be kidding. the right course under president obama's plans is to shrink our military, thinking somehow if we appease or accommodate the tyrants of the world, that the world will be safer. he's wrong. it is time for us to recognize once again a strong military does not create war. a strong america prevents people from trying to test us around the world. >> and in perhaps the most heated exchange of the night, michele bachmann criticized ron paul for his suggestion that there's not evidence iran is close to a nuclear weapon. >> the dangers -- the danger is
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really us overreacting, and we need a strong national defense, and we need to only go to war with a declaration of war and just carelessly flouting it and starting these wars so often. >> speaker gingrich -- >> can i respond to that? >> go ahead. >> can i respond? and the problem would be the greatest underreaction in world history if we have an avowed mad man who uses that nuclear weapon to wipe nations off the face of the earth, and we have an iaea report that just recently came out that said literally iran is within just months of being able to obtain that weapon. nothing could be more dangerous than the comments that we just heard. >> all right. 30 seconds, congressman paul. >> there is no u.n. report that said that. that is totally wrong on what you just said. >> the iaea report. >> that is not true. they produced information that led you to believe that. but they have no evidence. there's been no enrichment of those bombs.
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>> if we agree with that -- if we agree with that, the united states people could be at risk of our national security. >> she got additional time so i'd like to finish. you're trying to dramatize this like we've treated iraq and killing a million iraqis and 8,000 some americans have died since we've gone to war. you cannot solve these problems with war. >> attempting to mount a comeback in iowa, texas governor rick perry compared himself to often underestimated denver broncos' quarterback tim tebow. >> i'm kind of getting where i like these debates. as a matter of fact, i hope obama and i debate a lot, and i'll get there early and we will get it on, and we will talk about our differences, which are great. i'll talk about what we've done in the state of texas. i'll talk about talking a balanced budget amendment to the congress. i'll talk about having a -- the type of part-time congress that i think americans are ready for. you know, there are a lot of people out there, i understand it, you know, this are a lot of
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folks that said tim tebow wasn't going to be a very good nfl quarterback. there are people that stood up and said, well, he doesn't have the right throwing mechanisms. you know, he's not playing the game right. you know, he won two national championships, and that looks pretty good. we were the national champions in job creation back in texas. am i ready for the next level? let me tell you, i hope i am the tim tebow of the iowa caucuses. >> rick perry trying to have a little tebow mania rub off on him. in other 2012 news, mitt romney is picking up the highly prized endorsement of south carolina governor nikki haley. romney is in the state where governor haley is expected to join him at several campaign events in that critical primary state. today both the house and senate expected to approve a trillion-dollar spending deal just hours before a potential government shutdown. today's "wall street journal" points out agreement on that issue could pave the way for a short-term compromise on extending the payroll tax cuts. the sudden flurry of action
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follows a decision by senate democrats to back away from their plan to fund that extension with a surtax on incomes over $1 million. house speaker john boehner says scrapping that proposal was the democrats' only option. >> they never had the votes for their so-called millionaire surtax. they didn't even have the votes in 2009 and 2010 when they controlled everything. so i appreciate the fact they gave up on their millionaire surtax. they didn't give anything up because they never had it. >> house republicans demanding the administration move forward on the construction of the controversial keystone pipeline as part of any deal on the payroll tax cut extension. president obama has rejected that idea, vowing to block any attempt to link the two issues. but speaking with reporters yesterday, press secretary jay carney declined to repeat the threat of a veto. >> what the president said, i would remind you, is that he would reject a provision -- he would reject a proposal that tried to mandate approval of the keystone project. what the house put forward was
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an attempt to speed up a process that circumvents the kind of thorough and necessarily cautious review that the state department would need to conduct here. >> when asked by abc news about the gridlock on capitol hill, president obama put most of the blame on the other side of the aisle. >> well, you never want to say it's all them. but i do think that right now at least in the republican party, there are a couple of notions. number one is that compromise is a dirty word. number two, anything that obama's for, we're against. >> the president cites his health care law as an example of that, saying a similar plan was passed by, quote, one of the top republican front-runners. but now that republican candidates oppose the measure. that, of course, a clear reference to mitt romney. turning now to the markets
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where positive readings on the u.s. economy helped wall street snap a three-day losing streak. the dow gained 45 points. the s&p and nasdaq up marginally higher. let's bring in cnbc's steve sedgwick as we get all up in your business this morning. he's live in london for us. steve, good morning. >> a very good day to you. we keep seeing she's green shoots in the economy. this time the jobless claims, at their lowest level in three years. you have to go back to 2008 to see lower figures. the philly fed survey, better new york survey, plus fedex beat the street and their shares rallied the better part of 8%. back to you. finally, author, commentator, essayist christopher hitchens has died after a long battle with cancer. the british-born journalist died in houston of pneumonia, a complication of his disease. hitchens was known for his fierce intelligence and unrelenting critique of public figures. in 2009, i had an exchange with
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hitchens on the set of "morning joe" over president obama's winning of the nobel peace prize. >> he writes about president obama's nobel peace prize, writing, "we thus find ourselves in a rather peculiar universe where good intentions are rewarded before they have undergone the strenuous metamorphosis of being translated into good deeds or hard facts. and it becomes increasingly difficult to avoid entertaining the suspicion that there is something explicitly political in the underlying process of nobleista decision-making." christopher hitchens, good morning, sir. >> good morning. >> good excerpt there. lay out for us -- >> well put, i must say. >> i think the translation was, he didn't deserve it. >> you call it, christopher, the nobel's first virtual award. why do you say that? >> well, it would be like giving someone an oscar in the hope that it would encourage them to make a decent motion picture. >> christopher hitchens in 2009. his fellow writer and good friend christopher buckley wrote this in "the new yorker."
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quote, everything he said was brilliant. it was a feast of reason and a flow of soul, and if the author of "god is not great" did not himself believe in the concept of soul, he sure had one, and it was a great soul." christopher buckley on christopher hitchens who is dead now at the age of 62. still ahead here on "way too early," we make a turn to sports. chicago bears' wide receiver sam hurd arrested during a drug sting after allegedly telling an undercover officer he wanted to spend up to $700,000 in cocaine per week. how did he find time to play football? that bizarre story's ahead. and with newt gingrich as the republican front-runner, jon stewart stages an intervention to save the gop from itself. that story and a check on weather when "way too early" comes right back.
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5:44 in the morning. a look at a beautiful live picture of the plaza right outside our j here at rockefeller center. let's get a check on our weather from nbc meteorologist bill karins. good morning. >> looks like another a-plus weekend. get all of those holiday errands done. the weather's not going to cause you any trouble. it's another amazingly warm morning in areas like washington, d.c., where it's near 60 degrees when you walk out the door in the middle of december. ridiculous. but colder air is on the way. and it is windy out there as the warm air exits, the colder air returns. winds gusting to 40 to 50 miles per hour across all of the mid-atlantic and new england. so if you have to take the airplane today, it could be a bumpy ride. it's going to be windy. temperatures will drop into the 40s in most cases. so you don't need too much of a jacket this morning, but you will this afternoon. a little light rain for arkansas, louisiana, mississippi, up into tennessee. that will move into north carolina and virginia during the day today. light rain in the southeast. overall there's not many l headlines. even through this weekend, it
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looks pretty nice. temperatures about average if not above average. maybe some showers in south texas, but that's it. no snowstorms on the way. there's no really, really cold air. really, this map looks more like maybe early november than mid-december. >> all the way across the country, looking good, bill. let's hope it continues. thanks so much. to sports, "thursday night football," the atlanta falcons looking to tighten their grip hosting the jags. first quarter, matt ryan hits julio jones. atlanta goes up 7-0 and does not look back. third quarter, the quarterback sacked by john abraham. loose ball recovered by the big fellow, corey peters, scoop it and go, corey. ten yards, almost went down. falcons blow out the jags, 41-14. the win pushes atlanta to 9-5 on top of the nfc wild card. lions behind them with the bears and cowboys still in the hunt.
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chicago bears' wide receiver sam hurd is in police custody right now after being arrested with a kilogram of cocaine. that's a lot. prosecutors say that's just a fraction of what he wanted to buy as part of a major drug distribution network. the 26-year-old arrested yesterday by undercover agents during a sting operation at a chicago restaurant. federal prosecutors say hurd told an informant he was willing to spend $700,000 every week on up to ten kilograms of cocaine and 1,000 pounds of marijuana. hurd allegedly said his current supplier couldn't keep up with his customers' demand. wow! the former dallas cowboy has been under investigation since july when police stopped a man driving a car owned by hurd and found $88,000 in cash. hurd is now due back in texas where he could face 40 years in federal prison if he's convicted. the bears putting out a statement that said, "we are aware of sam's arrest and are continuing to gather details surrounding it. we are disappointed whenever
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these circumstances arise. we will deal with them appropriately once we have all of the information." hurd signed a three-year deal with the bears in july as a receiver, he had eight catches for 109 yards. to the nba, for the first time in his career, kobe bryant has a little competition in los angeles. the clippers welcoming chris paul to the west coast after a trade with the league-owned new orleans hornets. remember, paul was supposed to go to the lakers, but the nba vetoed that deal. the four-time all-star will earn 16.3 million bucks this season and pick up his option with the clippers next year for $17.7 million. as i said, the lakers have tried to acquire paul in a multiteam deal last week but rejected by david stern and the owners. so now he goes just across town to the clippers. spanish golfer sergio garcia clearly unhappy with his play at the thailand golf championship. opening round on the par 3 8th, sergio hits his shot into the water. he's going to try again. and it's another disappointment. so what do you do?
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like any good golfer, there it goes. yeah. feel the rage. he chucks his 4 iron into the pond. love that. garcia finished with 4 over, 16 strokes behind the leader. he's tied for 100th place and looking for a new 4 iron. coming up at the top of the hour on "morning joe," the final debate before people actually start voting in this republican primary. newt defends his long record as a creature of washington, and rick perry compares himself to tim tebow. debate highlights, analysis at the top of the hour. and when we come back here, we'll huddle around the water cooler to watch a rock 'n' roll front man to do the weather in chicago. these are always an adventure. "way too early" coming right back. there's a new toothpaste that says it has the same whitening ingredient as strips. but that mostly dilutes away within seconds of brushing. hmmm. having the same ingredient doesn't mean you get even close to the same whitening.
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as we told you a little bit earlier, the white house may be rethinking its threat to veto any payroll tax cut bill that includes the keystone pipeline. according to one study, the 44th president might be a little shy when it comes to blocking congress. if you want to sound smart today, tell your friends that president obama has vetoed only two bills, among the most infrequent use of veto by a president since 1881, according to the university of minnesota who looked through all this. said the president has issued a
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veto every 145 days. the presidential average over the last 130 years, one veto every 20 days. enough of the real news, let's huddle up around the water cooler to watch jon stewart lead an intervention for newt gingrich with a little help from some prominent republicans. >> one of the great tragedies of the bush administration. the more successful they've been at intercepting and stopping bad guys, the less proof there is that we're in danger. it's almost like they should have every once in a while to allow a tactic to get through just to remind us. think about the psychology. >> you know, the craziest thing about that clip is not even gingrich suggesting the occasional terrorist attack would be a useful reminder. a post-it note, if you will. but that when the audience attempts to laugh uncomfortably at his comment, his immediate instinct is to go, no, no, no, no! [ bleep ] serious here!
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i'm nuts! look, republicans, i know you miss the intoxicating high of the early '80s, but look in the mirror, man. look where chasing the reagan has led you. listen to your friends. this is an intervention. everyone is here today because they love you. tom, why don't you start us off, tom. >> i'm not inclined to be a supporter of newt gingrich. >> newt gingrich cares about newt gingrich. >> i don't know how he can be considered a conservative. >> i think he does not have the discipline, does not have the capacity to control himself, and he can't stay focused. >> that's who you're going to nominate for president! can't control himself, can't stay focused, too erratic. those last descriptions are usually followed by the phrase "and he's disruptive at naptime and a bit of a biter." >> i think i've heard that at some of my parent/teacher
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conferences. one more clip to show you. you know the rock 'n' roll band willco, great band out of chicago. the front man was back home in chicago yesterday on wgn and stepped in to help with the weather. >> how you doing? >> good. how are you doing? >> good. good to see you. it's nice to have a hairy weatherman out here. >> that's why i'm here. i'm supplemental hair. oh, yeah. well, i mean, seven days seems kind of optimistic to me. i'm sure you're just getting up. you're wanting to know what to wear today. the last thing you want to see is a guy from wilco doing the weather. >> a hairy guy also. >> a hairy guy. you're probably thinking that some virus has swept through the wgn studios. there's only a few of us left to man the controls. this is how it looks. you can read, i hope. if you can operate a tv. >> i don't think he's going to get the job. still ahead on "way too early," why are you awake? your egg nog, tweets and texts
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number one story on, exploiting weakness in the craft's gps. the scientist says it weakened them to make the drone land in iran when the computer thought it was landing in afghanistan. that's your number one story. we asked you at the top of the story what you're doing up at this hour. our producer has answers. squ john, what do you got? >> patty in cincinnati writes, up early after getting our son's acceptance letter yesterday. not too shabby. >> congratulations. another good one goes off to vandy tower. john, you there? good. john's a little slow this morning. there was a holiday party, i'm told. i wasn't there. i was out of town. john's moving in super, super slow motion. you may have noticed by some of the production. >> sorry, i'm losing my voice, too. >> yeah, i noticed. >> ken burke writes, i just received a kidney


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